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Who will be invited to a job interview – Pekka or Aleksei?

In English


Recruitment discrimination can be targeted against job applicants with a foreign-sounding name, but it can also be based on factors such as age and gender.

Recruitment discrimination based on ethnic background has been investigated by sending job applications with invented names to employers. The applications have been completely identical in other respects, but the applicant’s name has been changed, for example, from Pekka to Aleksei.

“In some cases, the application with a Finnish-sounding name receives many times more interview invitations than a foreign-sounding name,” confirms Ohto Kanninen, Chief Researcher at Labore.

He says that in the light of research, recruitment discrimination is a common phenomenon if there are enough applicants. In a sector with a shortage of workforce, recruitment discrimination is, in general, a smaller problem.

What causes recruitment discrimination?

Recruiters may have unconscious and conscious attitudes towards different people. Intolerance may also be rooted in the company’s culture.

What does recruitment discrimination look like from an applicant’s perspective?

Those who are discriminated against on ethnic grounds may not even know that they are being discriminated against, but their self-confidence will be weakened when they are not invited to job interviews. Age discrimination, on the other hand, is easier to notice: when the applicant was younger, they were invited to interviews, but nowadays they are not.

What negative effects does recruitment discrimination have on a company?

A company that falls into recruitment discrimination may reject the best candidates due to irrelevant factors. In general, all rigid thinking slows down the company’s development.

What methods are there to combat recruitment discrimination?

It is important to make discriminatory attitudes visible in recruitment. One way is to automate recruitment and use objective metrics and anonymous recruitment.

What happens when the candidate’s different characteristics are revealed in the interview?

Face-to-face discussions are an efficient way to reduce prejudice. For example, in a study conducted by the City of Helsinki, people with diverse ethnic backgrounds were invited to interviews more than before because of anonymous recruitment, and they were also hired more often than through regular recruitment.